SUMANI TRENDSTER BLOG: Clean Bushwick Initiative

Background

Bushwick is a neighborhood in Brooklyn and if you’ve ever been there, you’ll know that the neighborhood is home for its colorful murals, local eateries, and a strong latinx community. But you’ll also notice the abundance of street litter, 

The Clean Bushwick Initiative is an organization dedicated to cleaning up streets to create a safer and healthier community environment. This is done through organizing street and park clean ups, educational workshops, and community outreach through social media, newsletters, and working with city leaders. They not only plan to resolve Bushwick’s litter issue, but to also start the conversation of waste management and community accountability across the neighborhood. 

Clean Bushwick Initiative (CBI) has asked us to develop and create 6 deliverables: a research report, website redesign, Instagram campaign, sticker campaign, and newsletter. 

Our Approach

In order to accomplish these deliverables, we split the deliverables amongst each other into 5 teams. Throughout our project timeline, we have met various project phases beginning with our initial meeting with the CBI Directors to launch the project. Soon after, we completed our background research and split the list of deliverables into teams. Team members that were located in New York City were then able to complete a Bushwick site visit and attend a CBI street clean up event to aid in completing a situational analysis. With frequent meetings with CBI’s directors, we were able to continue researching and developing our deliverables. 

Challenges / Overcome

Due to COVID-19 distance learning and being located all across the United States, about half of our team were unable to visit Bushwick in person. By working for a community based organization to help develop locally specific campaigns and in-depth research neighborhoods, it is important to immerse oneself to understand community dynamics and social environment. Without this opportunity, our team members relied heavily on newspaper articles, interviews, and residential and CBI volunteer testimonials.

Results

By the end of the semester, each team finalized their deliverable. Two newsletters, for the month of March and April, were created and sent out to 327 subscribers. This was a 60% increase in the number of contacts. A thirteen page research report was created, contextualizing the street litter issue and highlighting various solutions in how residents may get involved in. A series of nine Instagram posts were also created to educate followers on commonly believed misconceptions and the true facts behind the myth. Clean Bushwick Initiative’s website was completely revamped with new pages, photos, and a hearth of information regarding waste management in Bushwick. Now web page visitors will have easy access to events, potential volunteer opportunities, and have a clear understanding of CBI’s mission and purpose. Finally, the Sticker Campaign was developed and has targeted its first business. 

Takeaways

Overall, we had a great time working with the Clean Bushwick Initiative. It allowed us to step away a bit from your typical classroom work and it was great working with and supporting such a successful community organization. Thank you Nicole and Kristen from CBI, as well as SUMANI, for such a valuable experience! 

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